POLITICS & INSTITUTIONS - ECONOMY

More than half of Lux workers on short-time scheme



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Enrolment in the government’s short-time working scheme tripled during April due to the covid-19 crisis. Pictured: First day back at the Royal-Hamilius construction site in Luxembourg City, 20 April 2020. Photo credit: Matic Zorman/Maison Moderne 

Nearly 6 out of 10 people employed in the grand duchy are on the receiving end of the state’s job-preserving subsidies, according to figures released by Franz Fayot, the economy minister (LSAP).

As of 28 April, the government’s Economic Committee (Comité de conjuncture) had approved applications from 14,690 companies, representing 254,551 employees, for the short-time working scheme due to the coronavirus pandemic. The programme has advanced €548m to companies to cover salary payments.

An economy ministry document showed that the short-time working scheme experienced a sharp increase in enrolment last month. As of 6 April, the government had accepted claims from 5,000 or so companies, representing roughly 73,000 employees. That means at least 348% more people were receiving the benefits at the end of April.

In March 2020, 446,139 people had jobs in Luxembourg, per Statec, which means the government has granted partial unemployment benefits to roughly 57% of the country’s workforce since the outbreak started.

The short-time working scheme lets companies reduce the number of hours employees work each week, with the government making up 80% of the shortfall in earnings.

Earlier this month, Adem said jobless claims were 25% higher in March, year-on-year, largely due to the temporary shutdown of the construction industry.

On Thursday, the government also said it had granted €2,500 emergency cash grants to 786 self-employed people, 5,506 €5,000 emergency cash grants to small businesses and 284 emergency loans of up to €500,000 to companies (totally €18.5m in loans).

The economy ministry published the figures on 30 April.